There’s a facade of peace and a prevailing myth of the absence of brutality in the modern world. The truth is that global politics still have strong Darwinian undertones. The powers that be will never let a native population fairly control a natural resource, they will simply take it from them.
In the corridors of power, behind the veil of speeches, public relations and official statements, this concept is simply and plainly regarded as resource planning. Leaders must secure materials, energy and wealth for the current and future prosperity of their nations.
Throughout history, nations and empires have always taken action to protect and further their interests at the cost of others’ wellbeing. The world has gotten so small that many feel they can no longer speak openly about such matters. I present to you a concise and direct guide, laid out step-by-step, that will help you accomplish your imperialist dreams.
Step One — Planning
“Behind every great fortune is a great crime” — H. Balzac
First things first, what does your country need? What do you think your people were divinely promised? Let’s look at some common answers to that question.
- Land: Historically for growth and the glory of the empire.
- Gold and Diamonds: Avarice, the world’s oldest motivation.
- Slaves: Cheap labor to develop your new territories and glorify your capital.
- Oil: Energy since the industrial revolution.
- Rare Earth Elements: Ensuring industrial supply for the digital age.
- Water: Coming soon…
Secondly, where can you get this commodity? Obviously, it isn’t socially acceptable to go barging into other countries and taking their stuff. Well, not anymore anyway, social media makes invasion so much more difficult than it used to be.
You need to make a plan. After you’ve identified a list of places that have what you need, look for the most defenseless area with the least amount of allies. The darker skin the better, trust me, it’s just easier that way. Now find a reason to go invade, excuse me, I mean liberate that country and free its people.
Try providing democracy, hunting down terrorists, pre-emptive action against future capabilities, etc. To be honest, it doesn’t really matter, just pick a story and stick to it. Even after all logical fallacies are pointed out, just stick to it. If something is written enough, it will eventually be accepted as the truth. Don’t rush to action though, be patient. The world is a messed up place, and sooner rather than later, justification will present itself. You just make sure your plan of attack is ready for when the opportunity arises. If all else fails, manufacture your own reason and evidence to start your campaign. Nobody can prove this, it’s your word against theirs.
Hold on, I know what you’re going to say. What if I’m not the most powerful nation? Do what any schoolyard kid would do. Find the biggest kid that no one else will mess with and be friends with them. Give them your lunch money over and over until they start to rely on it. Once you guys are friends, and they think they need you, even though they don’t, they’ll protect you. In the real world, find a powerful nation, and support that country’s leadership. Once you’re protected, you can operate with impunity and no one will be able to stop you.
Step Two — Conquer
“Shock and Awe” — G. W. Bush
There are many existing treatises on military tactics and the for the most part the advice remains relevant, go read the Art of War.
Tips for modern warfare include:
- Do it quickly, try not to kill too many civilians if possible.
- Avoid environments and terrain you don’t understand.
- Avoid fighting in dense urban areas as your enemies will be protected by civilian targets. There is no honor left on either side of the battlefield. However, if your goal is to destroy a city, then claim that combatants are hiding in civilian targets.
- Leave your soldiers at home and fight a proxy war if possible. Buy a local army or militia with guns, ammo and the promise of proceeds from your new enterprise.
Bonus points for destroying the place completely and then awarding your friends the contract to rebuild it. Make sure to get the newly installed government to take a loan from the World Bank to pay for it and ensure they’re shackled with interest payments until the end of days.
Step Three — Establish Law and Order
“My biggest problem with modernity may lie in the growing separation of the ethical and the legal” — N. Taleb
Establish a military presence in the area, let the locals know who’s in charge. As the country descends into madness, while protests and riots ensue, you’ll need soldiers on the ground to maintain basic order. Be brutal in your response, you don’t have enough manpower to worry about civil liberties.
Let’s be honest, forget the native population, you really need security to protect your new enterprises that you’ll be setting up to extract the resources you initially came for. They’ll require safe residential zones and transport corridors.
If the international community feigns outrage, or worse, your own citizens demand accountability, it may be time to outsource your dirty work. Bring in a private military contractor. It’s not your army, you’re not responsible. After all, people are never happy being governed without representation but they need to be controlled.
It may sound like overkill, but it’s never too early to start an intelligence apparatus. Secret police and a network of paid informants will help you squash any nascent political movements. Remember, silence is a political position. If they say nothing, you’re winning!
Step Four — Plunder
“Riches do not consist in the possession of treasures, but in the use made of them” — N. Bonaparte
As soon as things are stable, you need to lay the groundwork to get what you came for. Build gold mines, oil rigs and pipelines, slave auctions, or whatever else that has to be put in place to extract your resource of choice. You’ll also need transportation in the form of railway lines, shipping or even airports to get the goods out of the country as quickly as you can.
If it’s land you’re after, build something there. The longer you can hold that territory, the more it will look like the natives are encroaching on your rights when they try to take it back.
Once the wealth starts flowing, use some of the proceeds to build up and own the country’s critical infrastructure like transportation, utilities, communications, food production and key real estate. This will ensure continued income for local operations, especially in the case of a monopoly.
Don’t forget to build casinos to distract the locals and take any remaining cash or dignity they have left.
Step Five — Distruption
“Politics have no relation to morals” — N. Machiavelli
There’s no use reinventing the wheel, the same tactics have been working since the beginning of time. You have to break up any existing power structures and weaken your enemy. Study the local population and look for subtle ethnic differences, political schisms or even better, examine religious sects. Next, expose and encourage good old fashioned tribalism.
After you’ve identified the target, focus on the key things that separate the group, the wedge issues, and then make them a big deal. You’ll want to firmly establish these new political fault lines. Block rights, opportunities and resources for the previous ruling faction. Encourage systematic social exclusion to ensure alienation and complete disenfranchisement.
When setting up a new democracy, award the long standing opposition the power, and they will focus on it. They will most likely lack the skills to rule, and in reality, it’s authority without power.
In the case of a very large territory, draw more lines on the map. New borders should slice right through any existing strongholds. The smaller geographic area will be more manageable and provide a better opporuntiy for subversion.
Without fail, the people will rebel and external pressures will mount. You need to justify your actions. Cripple any rebellion by labeling its members extremists. Anyone can understand that enemies of the state need to be dealt with. Once the designation has been accepted, you have the right to dispose of these people and the public will love you for it.
What can you do if no extremists emerge? No problem, create them. Feed the natives a steady diet of fear, disinformation and propaganda. Incite violence with agents provocateurs and place blame with false flag attacks.
The most important point is to control the message. Remember that the origin of public relations is state propaganda. Use it to your advantage. Manipulate global opinion with carefully defined arguments and talking points. In the good old days you could get away with spreading Eurocentric racist ideals like ‘The White Man’s Burden’. This was replaced by the claim of spreading civilization and modern values to a backward population in need of your light and guidance. Now extending modern systems of government and upgrading political establishments seems to do the trick. Ego is very powerful and telling a skeptical population that you’re trying to make ‘them’ more like ‘us’ should serve you well. If all else fails, refer back to your manufactured fanatics and tell the world you have to protect yourself, even preemptively if you have to. We all have the right to homeland security don’t we?
Step Six — Aftermath
“Go on take the money and run” — S. Miller
If you haven’t already, now is the time to privatize all potentially lucrative infrastructure. Move quickly to lock up banks, ports and utilities to ensure long-term profitability in the region. This will also tie their hands by removing necessary sources of state funding while trying to rebuild.
You’ve made enemies. They’re coming for you. How dare they after you destroyed their livelihood and killed their family members? If you were stretching the truth in the beginning, you won’t have to any longer. Now you have actual terrorists to worry about. You’ve created a monster.
Before this gets out of hand, you have to completely eradicate their civilization. Be firm in your racism and completely devoid of any trace of humanity. Rob them of their history, their intellectuals, their traditions and ultimately their hope of any recovery. Destroy their achievements.
People need and deserve basic freedoms and dignity. You are now making a conscious decision to strip them of their fundamental rights. You must torture, exile or forcibly convert the entire population. I wish I could say this is no longer possible in today’s world but I’m afraid that it probably is.
If you’ve left any part of their culture intact, they will rescue whatever they can salvage. They will build their new national identity around both that and the fact that they are victims. They were attacked, but they are still standing. They are defiant, and they feel invincible. Soon, they will no longer be afraid of you.
Actions have consequences. You’ve given your new subjects a new language and a new culture, and in turn, you’ve given them new aspirations and a future home. It may not be the souvenir you intended, but it’s one you’re going to get. Their grandchildren will grow up alongside yours and they will be citizens in your land. I hate to be the one to tell you, but they probably have much higher birthrates than your countrymen as well. All of a sudden, even your national cuisine is theirs as well. This time, your land will be the one that is divided. The seeds of your own destruction have been planted, you will be weakened from the inside.
By now you’ve discovered that this is truly a Sisyphean task, there is no end in sight. You have to continue to feed your expanding empire by seeking out new frontiers to exploit and conquer in order to survive. All of the pain and all of the carnage was for a temporary and minor extension of your power.
You’ve assisted your country and you’ve bolstered your ego. You’ve earned a hollow victory, a few meaningless possessions and it all it cost you was your soul. No matter what delusions you’ve sold yourself, let’s hope for your sake that there’s no such thing as karma or any sort of reckoning in an afterlife. When you reflect upon your journey in your final hours, you’ll know if it was truly worth it.
No empire in history has lasted forever.